AMY PORTERFIELD: “While the personal connection and gratification of one-on-one work are incredibly rewarding, you likely feel limited because of the fact that you can only squeeze so many people into your calendar. So I'm just saying I know it's rewarding to work one on one with people, but, also, you are so limited. And that is exactly what happened to my Digital Course Academy student.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: I wanted to give you a podcast recommendation. It's called The Product Boss. It's hosted by Jacqueline Snyder and Minna Khounlo-Sithep. And it's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. So with this podcast, you can take your physical-product sales and strategy to the next level. And the hosts of this podcast, they deliver a workshop-style strategy of social-media and marketing strategies so you can up level as the boss of your business. They recently released a podcast walking you through doing a mid-year reflection, and I'm here for it. They give you a quick-and-easy reflection process that can help you make a bigger impact for the second half of the year. You're going to love it. So listen to The Product Boss wherever you get your podcasts.
Hey, there. Welcome to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast.
In today's episode, we're going to dive into one of my very favorite topics, one that I'm particularly passionate about, because it hits really close to home for me. Today I'm going to walk you through four telltale signs that your one-on-one work is holding you back. And I'm also going to explore how creating a digital course, either in addition to your one-on-one work or as a replacement for it, can help you grow in ways you've never thought possible, by sharing some real-life examples from some of my Digital Course Academy students.
Now, when I say one-on-one work, I'm talking about professionals who work directly with clients or customers or students. So it could be massage therapists; yoga teachers; life coaches; personal trainers; I always say dog trainers; website designers and developers; copywriters; any kind of consultant. So it really runs the gamut in terms of what you could include under the one-on-one work. People who genuinely want to help their clients or customers or students achieve their goals and their dreams, but they're limited in the impact they make and the money that they make because they only have so much time and there's only one of them. Or in this case, if I'm talking to you, there's only one of you. You can only do so much one-on-one work with your clients.
So if you've ever felt limited by your one-on-one service-based work, or if it's holding you back from creating the kind of business and ultimately the kind of life that you want, then this episode is for you. Are you ready to jump in? Let’s go.
Okay. So the first telltale sign that one-on-one work is holding you back is that you technically work for yourself, but you still feel burnt out. Now, if you've been listening for a while, you know that when I left my corporate job, I did social media as a service for a handful of clients. Yeah, I had my own business; and yes, I could work from where I wanted in my pajamas; and yes, I could set my own hours. But let me tell you, I ended up working around the clock, and I was more stressed than I had ever been.
So setting boundaries was really, really hard for me doing one-on-one work, because let's be honest, all of my clients had direct access to me. I was that girl who answered text messages from clients at, like, midnight, who would respond to emails on weekends and holidays, and miss out on every girls’ weekend at that time in my life when I probably really, really needed the time away. And my clients had wildly unrealistic expectations. They had tough deadlines, and they wanted things that I probably shouldn't even have been delivering. And so there I was, technically an entrepreneur but behaving just as I had in my corporate job. And I was agreeing to do the impossible, pushing myself harder and harder, and sacrificing my happiness for someone else's. And let me tell you, my friend, that’s just no way to live, and it's no way to run a business. I just happened to learn the hard way.
I definitely felt desperate to make money. I definitely felt desperate to keep the clients because I thought, “Well, what if I lose one of these clients? And then what is that going to mean for the bottom line? And what if I can't get another client quickly?” So my lack of boundaries had to do with my desperation to want this business to work so bad. And I was never an entrepreneur before this, so I was just kind of doing whatever it took to keep me from having to go back to a nine-to-five job. So I had a lot of desperation. I hate to admit that, but it is true. And I think it's very normal in your first few years to feel a little or a lot of that.
But I was very burnt out right from the get-go. Like, I left my nine-to-five job, went right into this, like, coaching-consulting-type business, and I was fried within months.
Now, little did I know at the time that I would go on to have an online business that let me prioritize my personal life and one where I don't even have to work on Fridays and where I get to wake up excited about the work that's going to be all my plate for that day. I didn't see any of that at the time. I think the difference between my business back then and the business I have today, the only real big difference is that my business, at its core, is digital courses.
Digital courses have allowed me to step away from my laptop and live the life that I truly want to live. And I mean that, and in so much sincerity. It is giving me more freedom than I've ever experienced. Did it happen overnight? No. Did it happen right away? Absolutely not. But over time—and it's been many, many years that I have felt that freedom. I've been in business for fourteen years—but I have felt this freedom for many, many, many years because I put my emphasis on building digital courses so I didn't have to work one on one, because for me that created stress that I did not want.
Now, you might be listening and you actually might love the one-on-one work. So everything I'm saying here, you can continue to do the one-on-one work and have a thriving digital course to give you freedom when you need it or want it most.
Imagine—and this is so terrible to even think about, and I don't even like to go down this road. But I did an episode not too long ago, one where I talked about my mother-in-law dying, and it was during my book launch. And if you haven't listened to that episode, I don't know what number it is, but it's the episode about when something doesn't go right in your personal life, how to keep your business going—and imagine, because it's going to happen to all of us, something happens, and it takes you out of the business. With my mother-in-law dying, it was, like, two weeks of a little bit of chaos. There was just more sadness than anything else. But like, God forbid, if someone in my family got sick—Hobie, Cade, my mom—and I had to just walk away. I could continue to make money with my digital course, where if I was just doing one-on-one work, I would absolutely not be able to make money. I would weaken my business very quickly.
So if you're only doing the one-on-one work, if you don't have an asset in your business that will absolutely continue to keep your business afloat when you have to step out of it, and it might be more than just a few weeks, then that's a reality check for you, my friend, to say, “Let's look at this business model.” Let’s add a digital course to the business model so that you have a little protection if something were to go wrong and you had to step out for a period of time.
So I hate to go down that road, and I don't like to be doomsday, because I usually, 90 percent of the time, when I'm talking digital courses, I'm talking about bringing more freedom into your life in the most beautiful, positive way. But there is something on the other side of that, and it's to protect you in case something bad were to happen. So I just wanted to be honest and talk about both sides.
All right. Let's transition a bit, something a little lighter. I want to talk about one of my students. Her name is Jessica Burke. And making that transition from doing the one-on-one work to creating a course was definitely a good choice for her.
So when Jessica became a new mom while working full time in her marketing career, she often found herself thinking, “How do people do this? Are moms working full time, taking care of their kids, and just not sleeping?” And she knew there had to be a better way. So that's when she decided to make a career change and become a certified sleep consultant and work one on one with clients. But as so many stories go, she had so many one-on-one clients that she became burnt out. And once again she was asking herself, “How do people do this?”
In her moments of reflection, she started to realize that with her one-on-one work, she was talking about the same things to every family. Even though each child is different and each family is different, the problems were the same. And that's when the idea hit her. All of the knowledge that she had about toddler sleep could be made into a digital course.
So she took Digital Course Academy and made the transition from doing one-on-one coaching calls to a digital course. Today she's in control of her days and her schedule, and she has time to be a present mom to her kids.
Now here's the cherry on top of the cake. During the first six months of launching her digital course, she made over seventy thousand dollars. And before leaving for a vacation that July, she decided it was time to put her course on evergreen—something I teach people how to do in Digital Course Academy—and let it run itself. In the next eighteen months—you have to get ready for this. So I said she made seventy thousand dollars in her first six months. Then she wanted to go on vacation for a lot of July, so she thought, “I need to put this on evergreen.”—so over the next eighteen months in evergreen, she made five hundred fifty thousand dollars. Yeah. She was able to scale her knowledge through a digital course and make well over a half a million dollars in a year. That sounds like a good deal to me, right?
Okay. I never do this, because I'm going to talk about someone I don't know, and she's not a student of mine, but dang, I would love her to be a student. Okay. So there's this woman online, and I found her on TikTok, but she's also on Instagram. And she is called Beauty Junky Monkey. And her name's Natasha. But Beauty Junky Monkey is what I think her handle is on TikTok. And then on Instagram, it's, like, Natasha Beauty Junky Monkey. There's some underscores in there. Anyway, that's not the point.
The point is that this woman is an esthetician, so an expert in skin care. And one night I stumbled upon her and quickly became obsessed. I'm obsessed with this woman. She does a great job of teaching about skin care. She breaks down what the different products do. She shares only what she's used and what she's loved. She looks amazing. Her skin's amazing. And she's in her forties, and so she helps women forties, fifties, sixties. And she's just really good at what she does.
Well, she does this thing where she will do thirty-minute consultations, and they’re a hundred sixty-eight Canadian dollars, and she'll do these thirty-minute consultations and basically learn about your skin over Zoom and then put together your morning and evening routines, what products you need, how to use them, how often to use them. I mean, I love it.
And so right now, at the time of this recording, we are in June. She is booked out until October. And the other day she just opened up October. So she has tons of followers online, for the record. Like, tons, hundreds of thousands. And she opened up October. So remember, we're in June, and she's like, “Okay”—she's all booked for June, July, August, September—and she said, “I'm going to open up October on Friday.” I literally set my alarm. She didn't say what time, but it was on a Friday. I set my alarm for 7:00 a.m.
Remember, Fridays are my day off, so if I could sleep till 8:00 a.m., I will. I'm getting older so it's hard to sleep that long. If you know what I mean, you know what I mean.
So anyway, I set my alarm, and I got up at 7:00 a.m., and I literally checked to see if her calendar was out yet. And it wasn't, so I thought, “Well, I’ll get back up. I'll set it for an hour, and I'll go look again.” So an hour rolled around. I looked again. They were all full. Like, around 7:05, I guess she opened it up, and within twenty minutes, all the dates in October were taken. And so now in about a month, I guess she'll open up November.
Now, you know where I'm going with this, right? Imagine—she could keep doing these consultations—but imagine if she created even a mini digital course—something with, like, three to five modules, not tons of videos in it—and taught people how to self-diagnose what they need to put together their own morning and evening routines. And what's so brilliant about Natasha is that she recommends products, and she has affiliate links. And I can't imagine how well she's doing with those affiliate links. I literally bought everything she told me to buy. And so I'm just telling this story. I don't know her. She doesn't care what I have to think. Like, she doesn't even know me. But if you can relate to any of this, that what you're doing is working so well, but imagine what could happen if you could serve in such a bigger way. You can continue to do what you love and what's probably working well for you, but this whole other side of your business, an additional stream of revenue. I feel like her business would explode. And I just wanted to tell you that story because I feel like someone out there, they can relate to that and think, “Wait a second. I could do this in addition.”
Okay. So total side note, that was not part of my notes. But Natasha, if you ever hear this, I love you.
Okay. So bringing it back. I want to talk about the second sign that one-on-one work is holding you back, and it's that you feel like there's a cap on your income because you've completely maxed out your time.
I believe that we should all be enjoying more time out of the office this summer. For me, that looks like spending time on my boat with my husband Hobie, and also, not being tied to my computer screen every minute. And thanks to AI, maybe it's finally happening. The latest research says that marketers who are spending five hours a day on manual admin tasks have been able to cut that grind time in half with the help of AI. We just recently moved to HubSpot, and with HubSpot, they've baked AI tools right into their customer-relationship-management platform with things like ChatSpot and content assistant. So with a simple chat-base command, you can summarize research and create copy and pull data reports in seconds so that you can spend more time doing the things that you love in the summer, so things like barbecuing with friends and basking in the sun. Don't forget your sunscreen, though. But I just want you to have all the summer vibes. So we know that we've got to work smarter, not harder. And with HubSpot, you can do just that. So to learn more and get started today, visit hubspot.com.
So that is Natasha, right? Like, she might not see this as a problem, so I'm literally making this up for her. I've never talked to her. But she's an esthetician, so let's say she's got people actually doing skin care for them and then she's doing these consults, but there's only so much time. She’s maxed out. October filled up in twenty minutes. She is maxed out.
So if you feel as though you are maxed out with your time, pay attention here. You're packing in as many appointments or billable hours as you can, but you've come to a dead halt on the amount of money you can make because there are only twenty-four hours in a day and literally you will not sleep if you took any more clients, you are literally trading your precious, precious time for money.
When you create a digital course, you're able to package your expertise, your passion, all of your wisdom into a format that can be accessed and purchased by anyone with an Internet connection. And the beauty of it is that it's a one-time effort for you. Sure, your course will need to be updated, and you'll need to establish an audience. But all of the time you invest up front pays dividends for years to come. I will never, ever have to start from scratch on a program that has been incredibly successful and has helped thousands of students. I launch it every year. I never, ever have to start from scratch again. I will always make it better. I will always improve it. But I never have to start from scratch again. And starting from scratch is what slows down an entrepreneur. You want to start from scratch as little as possible, my friend.
Okay. So let me tell you another story. Kelly Hughes, she's a yoga teacher. There were only so many yoga classes that Kelly could teach in a day and only so many students that she could accommodate in her studio. In other words, she was completely limited by her time and her space. So she came up with a brilliant idea to start a digital course, where she shows other yoga instructors how to set up a successful yoga website. So in her course, she walks them through how to build an online presence and also attract more people that are a perfect fit for their particular style of yoga and yoga studio. And here's the thing. She charges a hundred ninety-seven dollars for this course, and it can be purchased over and over and over again, without Kelly having to lift a finger in her yoga studio.
Now, I'm not a regularly practicing yogi, but I do know that a single yoga class at a studio usually costs somewhere in the range of fifteen to thirty dollars for a session. That's just a fraction of the one ninety-seven that she makes every time she enrolls a student in her course. So today, she's able to reach even more people, and as a result, make exponentially more money while still enjoying her yoga practice with her students in studio.
It's like you get the best of both worlds if you want it. So if you're just hitting a ceiling on income, and you know that your one-on-one service work is not going to make your business thrive at the level you want, then it makes perfect sense to let's add an additional stream of revenue. Hitting that income ceiling is by far one of the biggest reasons why my students create digital courses. And what's great is that you don't have to, again, quit doing the one-on-one work if you don't want to. You can continue it to your heart's desire and rake in an additional income from a digital course.
So if you, too, are frustrated because you can only make so much money—and listen, we got to talk about money. We're never going to shy away from it on my podcast, right? You want to make more money, and you deserve to make more money. Just because you want to, I’m great with that. If you want to make more money, let's find a way to do so. Let's not think that we can't talk about the fact that that is a huge driver in entrepreneurship. So many more things are important as well. We talk about them on the show. But if you're frustrated with the amount of money you're making, I want you to at least start to explore what it would look like to add a digital course to your business.
All right. Moving on. The third telltale sign that one-on-one work might be holding you back is if you have an extremely inconsistent workload. You're in a profession where the demand for services fluctuates, which leads to a ton of stress during your busy times and a lot of uncertainty during your slower periods.
Maybe you tutor high school kids in calculus, and while the demand for tutoring sessions picks up during the school year or college entrance exams, you're slow during the summer. And although maybe you do want to take a little time off, you don't love the fact that no income is coming in. Or maybe you're a personal trainer, and while business is hot right after the new year and leading up to the summer, during the rest of the year, you're desperate for clients.
Or here's an example. I just recently hired a personal trainer to come to my house two times a week. I want to do it three times a week, but I'm starting off just with two because I want to be consistent, okay? And so I actually have to go away for three weeks. It's not like I'm not going to be working for three weeks, but I've got a vacation, and then Hobie wants to spend some time at the lake house, so I’ll work from the lake house. But I’m not going to be in Nashville. And so there's three weeks that I won't be working with my personal trainer. And if she also had a digital course where she was selling to a different clientele, not me, of course, but to other people, then when she's got these clients who take a big chunk of time off, she wouldn't have to take a hit with the revenue as well.
And so I think that when you are a service-based provider—now, my trainer actually does virtual training as well. So she's got two streams of revenue, so she's good. But I'm just using her as an example where when if you're in a business where when it's hot, it's hot, and when it's not, it's not, great time for a digital course. The last thing you want in your business is uncertainty. That's what really can shake our mental state as entrepreneurs. Uncertainty. This sort of uncertainty with income can be really stressful, and it also creates a bit of a pressure-cooker situation during your busy seasons, like my Digital Course Academy student Corinne Gerhart.
So for years, Corinne owned a top Denver-based dog-walking and pet-sitting company. You know, I love this example, right? Any examples with dogs. And as expected, she was super busy on weekends and holidays. That is when her customers needed her services. She was really slow during the week, which limited her income. It made it hard for her to scale her business and also made it impossible for her to take a family vacation, something she had wanted to do for years.
So meanwhile, she had also developed a reputation for being an expert on Doodles. You know, Goldendoodles, Labradoodles. Everyone’s got them now. So she started thinking about how she could use this expertise to leverage and solve her scalability and time issues. She started a podcast to attract her ideal-customer avatar, and when she launched her digital course, it was a hit. Her first launch generated twenty-three thousand dollars, and she continued to launch this course. But more importantly, because the success of her digital course, she decided to sell her dog-walking and pet-sitting business and only do her digital course. And guess what? More importantly than anything, she finally took her family on a dream vacation to Disney.
Now, not only is the money from her digital course great, but she has her life back. She decided, “I don't want to keep the dog-walking and pet-sitting business now that I have a thriving digital course. I would like to do less but continue to make great money.” That was her decision. She could have kept it, but she didn't want to. Now she's spending more quality time with her family, and at the end of the day, what matters more than that, right?
Now, hear me when I say this. I'm not telling you that you should just give up your profession or sell your business, like Corinne did. Corinne selling her dog-walking business was a choice she made so that she could have more of what she wanted. But one way that you could supplement your income during slow periods and even take away the pressure to take on so many more clients during that busy season is to create a digital course. It's the best of both worlds. You still have one-on-one interaction with your clients if you wish, but also, you have a business that makes you money while you sleep. And that is the truth.
And that brings me to my final telltale sign that your one-on-one work is holding you back. And this is a big one, my friend. And it's that you genuinely feel discouraged that you're not able to help more people. And this is a big one in my community. I tend to attract—and I'm so proud of this—I tend to attract really big-hearted entrepreneurs. Like, they're not here for the money as much as they are here to serve. I hear it over and over again. So you might feel this way, too. You might think, like, “Ah, you know, I love the work I do, and I really make a difference in people's lives. But every month, I get to help ten people, where I feel like I could help hundreds of people if I could go out in a bigger way.” You might even have a waitlist for your services. And while that’s a really good problem to have, it might—because you have a big heart—it kind of disappoints you because you feel as though you got into your profession so you can make an impact on so many people's lives. You know that example I used of Natasha, a woman I don't even know that I'm obsessed with her skincare tips and tricks. She might think, “Gosh, I really want to help more people in a very personal way, but I can only do so many one-on-one consultations.” And she makes tons of TikTok and Instagram videos. But she can only say so much in a quick little video, right? Imagine if she could put her whole blueprint into a course and help people all over the world that don't have an opportunity to have a one-on-one call with her because she's only one person. And I know she cares deeply about people. You can tell in her video. But I bet she sometimes feels like, “Oh, I wish I could help so many more people with these personalized routines for their skin care.”
And the thing is, while the personal connection and gratification of one-on-one work are incredibly rewarding, you likely feel limited because of the fact that you can only squeeze so many people into your calendar. So I'm just saying I know it's rewarding to work one on one with people, but, also, you are so limited.
This is exactly what happened with my Digital Course Academy student, Casey McGuire Davidson. As a one-on-one coach helping women overcome their sobriety issues, her goal, first and foremost, was to help other people. And while she was definitely doing that with one-on-one coaching, she dreamed of creating a business where she could scale and impact more women. So she took what she teaches in her one-on-one coaching sessions, and she created a digital course. And with her digital course, Casey is able to take her own experience and use it to change the lives of so many women. And here's the kicker. Because her course is evergreen—again, something I teach in Digital Course Academy—she was able to take an entire month off to travel while making money on autopilot, which would have been nearly impossible with her one-on-one coaching.
It was a similar story for my student Darcie Milfeld. She worked as a coach helping women finally break that paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. And although she loved working one on one with clients, she knew that her time, energy, income, and the number of people she could help was really limited. So she wanted to add something to her portfolio that would allow her to make much more of an impact, and a digital course turned out to be the perfect solution. In fact, Darcie says that the impact that she had with her first two launches was three times more than what she did in the entire year prior, in terms of the number of women and families that she was able to help.
And that's the other thing. Once you've created your digital course, it's a learning resource that lives on forever, and it continues to give value long after your one-on-one work would have ended. And that's pretty cool, if you ask me.
So if you are doing one-on-one coaching, one-on-one consulting, one-on-one service-based work, and you feel like you just aren't making the sort of impact you want to, then creating a digital course just might be the right move for you, and it's something that you at least owe it to yourself to explore. Sure, the money is great; and sure, I truly think you will love the freedom that comes with it. But I'm going to tell you one thing. There's no better feeling than knowing that the work you do has made an impact far beyond the circle that you've been able to help with your one-on-one work. You can help people in other states. You can help people in other countries. You could help people that in other situations would never have access to you. It is life changing, my friend, for you and for those you serve.
All right, my friend. We've reached the end of the episode. Thank you for staying with me. Let's just go ahead and recap the four telltale signs that one-on-one work could be holding you back.
Number one, you have your own business, but you feel burnt out and overwhelmed on the regular. Number two, you've hit a cap on your income because there are only so many hours in the day. Number three, you have an inconsistent work load throughout the year, which leads to periods of high stress during busy times and some uncertainty during slower periods. And number four, you feel discouraged that you're not able to help more people, because you're limited by your time or your space.
Now, I want you to pause for a second and think about these four signs. If you're in a situation where you can pull out a journal, maybe just take ten minutes to write about how you're feeling or your experience with your one-on-one business. What are you loving about it? What is a challenge for you? Do you resonate with any of these limitations that I talked about today? Do you feel inspired by any of the stories that I shared with you about my students?
I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again. If you are feeling held back by your current career situation, then you might want to consider adding a digital course to your business. And here's the good news. If that's you, I have so many resources for you to take advantage of, from this podcast to my own signature course, Digital Course Academy, which I open up every September, and it has helped thousands of students validate and create and launch and sell their digital course.
So thanks so much for joining me for another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.